Using bill pay has been incredibly convenient for us. Whether we’re on vacation or in the middle of a hectic work cycle, we know that the mortgage, utilities, and debt snowballs are being sent. I can’t remember the last late bill fee we’ve had since we started sending our bill payments online.
Most banks and credit unions offer this money and time saving feature and in most cases it’s completely free. If you haven’t already used this, setting it up can be incredibly easy.
Setting Up Bill Pay
We took copies of our bills and set them in a pile. I entered the bill names, addresses, due dates, account numbers, and bill amounts with our bank. You can set the bills up to be recurring, where it will pay it automatically for you. If a bill changes from month to month, I just login and change the amount. The bank takes care of the rest.
It took less than an hour to set up most of our bills with our joint checking account. We only need around 20 minutes a month to pay bills. Once you set your online bill pay system up, it’s very easy to maintain.
What’s also great about using bill pay is the ability to automate your debt snowball and quickly adjust as you find more money to grow it. with the student loans, it’s a mix of automatic payments and regular payments I make from the account on a semi-schedule as the money comes in.
Bill pay also allows us to smooth out our cash flow into predictable manner, so we can minimize the sting of irregular expenses. By having a buffer in our budget, it also gives us a safety net.
Don’t Set it and Forget It
While we do’t have to constantly check our bills, completely ignoring them as they come in can be a costly mistake. We had a few instances were bills were creeping up.
This past year our home association dues and our cable/ internet bill increased. Fortunately I was able to call and get a better deal with our cable company, saving us almost $200/year.
We’ve also had addresses change on a few bills as some companies merged or got were bought out. Check your bill to make sure that hasn’t happened to you.
Thoughts on Automating Your Budget
I’d like to hear about your financial system. How much of your bill payments and budgeting is automated?